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Would Sonic X have been better received with a closer translation?


Blazey Firekitty
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Bashing 4kids feels sort of old hat at this point, but from what I've seen and heard about the dub, 4kids removed a lot of the emotional context from the Western incarnation of the series(As well as some of the funnier jokes).

Do you feel that Sonic X would have fared better had its dub been closer to the source material, or do you feel that the show was "broken" from the start?

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Most of the people who moan about the series hate it purely for the human characters, or think that emotion like that doesn't belong in a Sonic franchise or was badly done.

I think most haters hate it in all forms.

Me, I still absoloutely love it, but yeah the dub was awful.

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It would help, but I don't think it would've saved it. It's still ugly and poorly written (in the general sense; I don't know any specifics of the Japanese script).

I still can't stand how they'll draw Sonic with 3 spines no matter what angle he's at. I can understand it as sort of shorthand when seen straight on or from the side, but seriously, what is this shit.

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I think it would've been ALOT better, if EVERYTHING was the same... yes even the swearing. Because it was THERE. Tho I honestly hate both versions until the 3 season when they were in space. And NOT because of chris.. but because it was really pointless. Nothing really happened, it really was badly written in both japan and here. But I can watch or sit though a whole eps in japanese. I can't sit tho that shit in english. The BGMs are a mess, the fact that here in the states, cartoons are ONLY for kids, so we have to cut ALL the guns out. And ... sonic didn't DO anything until the last min of each ep. :/

Edited by tinokunx
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That's just lazyness :P

But as already said, there probably wouldn't have been a significant change had Sonic X recieved a better dub, the (non-dub) stuff that people complained about would likely still be there (for example, Chris' hogging the spotlight)

Though it is funny to think that had Sonic X been dubbed by a different company, then the voice actors for the games would be entirely different to what we have now, but thats a whole other subject.

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The first five episodes were more along the lines of what I was expecting out of the series. That's why I bought the first DVD volume of the Japanese version, and I still can enjoy it to this day. What I didn't realize at the time was that episode 6 and beyond (with a few exceptions, such as the magnificent episode 26) were to have the show completely fall flat on its face.

I also don't believe that the severe backlash against 4Kids is warranted; the English translation is pretty faithful to the original except for the censorship of deaths and music (and besides, the way this series handles deaths is rather embarrassing anyway). Sonic X was always a children's anime, through and through. No adult can properly enjoy this series without being a Sonic fan. The statement that "most anime is not for kids" is a lie.

Sonic X flirted with mediocrity, and it's a pretty terrible show, even though it had its moments. It didn't have songs, but it's just as humiliating to sit through as Sonic Underground. Episode 26 was the series' grace (not saving grace, though) until Super Sonic started showing up every six episodes.

Sonic X is also a retarded name.

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Underground > Sonic X times 50 [/biasedfaggot]

To be honest, it would have helped actually. I think that, and actually using the game actors would have made it watchable in my book. It would have probably stood a chance to rise above the ranks of the other cartoons, save for Underground.

As it stands, that show is the reason I can no longer take Shadow and Rouge seriously when they speak anymore. Also FIND THE COMPUTER ROOM.

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Coming from someone who actually likes Sonic X, I don't think the dub was that bad. With the subbed episodes I have watched, apart from a few differences in dialogue (which is to be expected) most episodes are of the same quality in both languages. So except for a few episodes ruined by 4Kids overzealous censorship, the show is fine to watch dubbed. Like has been said, most people who hate the show hate its premise and execution which really doesn't change with what language you watch it in. Also in terms of humour it was recreated pretty well, IMO, for a western audience and there are times when it ends up funnier than the original.

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Something I've noticed with mild surprise is that Sonic X in particular is held up as an example of 4Kids meddling and all of the problems such an accusation holds. And it strikes me as rather funny how completely inappropriate the accusation actually is.

Sonic X was absolute shit by itself regardless of what language it was presented in. The artwork was awful and incredibly inconsistent (Cream was drawn a dozen or so different ways in the first season alone. Sometimes different ways in the same episode), the characterization was hilarious and mis-aimed (everyone feel sorry for the selfish rich asshole!), the show's focus was way off the mark (that spoiled asshole? Let's make the entire plot revolve around him!) and half of the plots in the show required everyone to act like a total retard for anything to actually happen. It was a lowest common denominator show from the start, and changing which region that denominator was from does nothing particularly negative to the show that wasn't there in the first place.

Now, look, I'm into 4Kids bashing as much as the next guy, but only when that bashing is correctly aimed; and practically none of the problems with Sonic X were their fault. This wasn't One Piece we are talking about: The changes they made were annoying, but having Sonic swear and people shoot guns at each other and characters break the fourth wall all the time and other such nonsense would not have made the show quality in any way. The only real difference would be that the third season wouldn't have been quite as much of a waste of space as it was, but even then the only real difference is in one or two episodes.

Edited by Tornado
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I don't believe in 4Kids bashing, as much as I don't like censorship. I'm up to criticizing their practices on shows like One Piece and Magical DoReMi, and I wouldn't ever defend their practices, but the thing that annoys me more than 4Kids are 4Kids detractors. It doesn't help that English dubs have a hard time being well-received in the anime community, so edited dubs are liable to grossly exaggerated claims made against the company (4Kids, racist? Retards. I hope you're aware that the reason 4Kids edited the black character in One Piece was to avoid blackface stereotypes). I differentiate between criticism and exaggerated whining, so I'm largely against most popular forms of dub detraction. I still do not like 4Kids, but most 4Kids bashing is just annoying noise.

Anyway, Sonic X was lackluster to begin with. A handful of other anime that 4Kids got their hands on should have had an uncut release (at least one did), but this show? I don't know what English audiences are missing out on here...

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^ The only show that I've seen that I believe the bashing is really warranted for is One Piece, so forgive me if I came off differently. The rest of the properties they handled I either find too mediocre in the first place to get bothered about (Yu-Gi-Oh) or find that pretty much all of the complaining is completely meaningless (Pokemon).

Edited by Tornado
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Should've kept it the way it was and did official subtitles.

You don't go ruin a piece of art by taking a giant poop on it, now do ya?

I - Loved the Japanese version so much, it was great to see someone took the time and effort to show the updated Sonic in a weekly anime. It wasn't to promote a new game or merchandise, it was put together for the fans and I for one, appreciated it for what it was... and not what it became.

If I could convince at least 1 person here to take another shot at the series, but in Japanese, then my job here is done.

tl;dr version - A better translation would've been great, but you can't beat the Japanese original

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HOLAS:

I never had the privilege(?) of watch the whole series, just one or 2 chapters, and I hated how they translated the names in the Latin American version (lol Dr.Huevo), did you also have this kind of "feature"?

Anyways, I don't know if this falls under 4Kids category *searchs in wikipedia and founds nothing*

Off-Topic: Did you know the VA's of Latin American Sonic X were the same of AOSTH? (except for Eggman)

Edited by imarafan
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On the one hand, the 4Kids dub censored and even outright cut some scenes; Some of which weren't objectionable to begin with. For example, Eggman imagining his distressed time post-Metarax takeover using goofy chibi drawings of himself was cut, and the artsy sketchy pictures in the last episode were cut as well. Neither of these are exactly "objectionable" for a children's show, and all I can think of is that they were cut for seeming "too Japanese" in style.

Oh, right, and the soundtrack- Which I contend was actually decent in Japan- was replaced with rather forgettable background music in the dub, by far the dub's worst offense of its many changes.

That aside, I liked the dub because I love Mike Pollock's voice acting. He singlehandedly made the script changes bearable because, simply, I just love his voice for Dr. Eggman. Of course, the pun-riddled English script had a "so bad it's good" charm about it that also made the dub enjoyable in its own twisted way.

In general, I like dubs. I like dubs because most dubs are translations that faithfully convey the spirit of the original work. As Mike Pollock aptly put in an interview with the Eggman Empire, however, "4Kids does adaptations, not translations. There is a difference." And really, I guess that's a good way to look at it.

4Kids is not the standard for anime dubbing, because most dubbing companies are pretty good at providing a legitimate translation of the original source material. So to look at 4Kids's work and generalize it to all anime dubbing studios is incredibly faulty, yet sadly this is all too often exactly what happens.

Edited by Dr. Mechano
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I'm gonna ignore the assertion that the 4Kids dub took true art in anime form and took a dump on it, because (regardless of if one actually likes the show or not) that is a statement I find as valid as saying AoStH was true art until the Sonic Sez segments were removed when it was syndicated on Toon Disney. I'll just refer to this part:

It wasn't to promote a new game or merchandise, it was put together for the fans and I for one, appreciated it for what it was... and not what it became.

It was almost certainly created purely to build hype for Sonic Heroes. As I recall, Sonic X was just a single part of a huge marketing push put behind the game when it was first announced, which is part of the reason why the announcement of a postscript season surprised so many people.

Edited by Tornado
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Maybe, but I still would have thought it was shit. Simple as that.

I don't dislike/hate Sonic X because of the 4kids translation. I do because it's a really bad show in general regardless of subs or dubs. The animation quality wasn't good, the anime only characters were awful (not just talking about Chris), and the game adaptions (Adventure, Adventure 2, Battle) could have been done so much better it pains me to watch them. Especially Battle. It's like it wasn't even the same fucking game.

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As Mike Pollock aptly put in an interview with the Eggman Empire, however, "4Kids does adaptations, not translations. There is a difference." And really, I guess that's a good way to look at it.

I suppose I'd like the 4kids dub more if I looked at it as its own universe and tried to access its own merits, since, as you said, the creators of the dub were essentially trying to make a new story using the existing footage, much like Saban did with Samurai Pizza Cats.

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Samurai Pizza Cats isn't like what Pollock was referring to as an adaptation.

You're right, it's not to the same extreme of "We had no script, so we'll just make one up based on the animation."XD It's true that it's not a "happy accident" like what happened with Pizza Cats. Still, because 4kids' somewhat extreme localization process, the story of 4kids Sonic X is not entirely the same story as the original, especially since many characters who are dead in the original are alive in the 4kids version.

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I loved watching Sonic X premire on my local fox channel (six years ago I believe it was), however, as I became older and began to watch the original Japanese dub, I was able to see how badly 4kids butchered the series, weather it was by removing a hit Sonic song from the dub, or censoring out a teenaged girl's death, 4kids had many unnecessary cuts throughout the anime(just like any anime the dub for that matter). But as much as I'd love to bash 4kids, I will admit that Sonic X was a broken record from the start.

Sonic X had a very poor use of its cast of characters. Sonic was a lone-wolf half of the time, Tails was often pushed to the sides tinkering with his mechanics, he was even able to make a space ship by himself that was able to travel across the galaxy in Season 3, honestly when you have tails around, who needs NASA? Knuckles was often treated as the typical all muscle and no brain kind of guy and didn't even appear all that much in season 1(although, it was nice to see hime have one episode based on him). Amy is probably one the biggest issues that I had with Sonic X, she annoyed me out of my mind, her obsession over Sonic was just unbearable for me to watch, I also think that she was given too much power throughout the series, the whole cast was afraid of her Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Chris, Cream, even Eggman was afraid of her. I understand that Amy being obsessed over Sonic and feared by everyone is supposed to be comical but it just doesn't cut it for me. Anyway, Cream hardly did anything throughout the entire series, Chris and all the other human characters took far too much time throughout the series that could should have been used for real Sonic characters(although, I didn't mind Chris all that much in season 3). Cosmo was okay I geuss, but I would have respected her more if she could fight on her own and wasn't much of a damsel in distress, and please don't even get me started on that whole Tails and Cosmo thing. It ruined Tails's character for me completely in the anime.

The only characters throughout the anime that I believe had a decent if not good characterization were Eggman, Rouge, and Shadow. We were able to see what kind of person Eggman is when he's not in his Eggmobile trying to destroy Sonic, we were also able to see a sort of parent trait he has towards his fellow bots. Rouge was able to handle herself quite well throughout the anime and I thought that she showed a better symbol of girl power than Amy, Cream, or Cosmo. Shadow kept season 3 pretty fresh in my opinion despite the fact that he lost his memory and had the role of a Metal Sonic wannabe, he still gave hype to the anime and was overall an interresting character to have around.

I also just wanted to comment on this statement.

Underground > Sonic X times 50

Sonic Underground is possibly the most embarrasing series in history to have Sonic in the title however, one factor there is one factor that makes me enjoy Sonic Underground more than Sonic X, and that is Sonic's attiditude. Sonic had close to no attitude at all in Sonic X, he was such a bland character, the only time that he would ever show a glimpse of attitude is when he was argueing Knuckles or Eggman but even that was only used for poorly written humor momments. Two characteristics that I believe define Sonic is his speed and his attiditude, he had speed in Sonic X but lacked his attitude. Because of Sonic's attitude, I will normally take AoSTH, SATAM, OVA, and even SU over Sonic X. Anyway, I believe that the fact that Sonic X was dubbed by 4kids did mess up much of the anime, but Sonic X was doomed from the start.

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Something I've noticed with mild surprise is that Sonic X in particular is held up as an example of 4Kids meddling and all of the problems such an accusation holds. And it strikes me as rather funny how completely inappropriate the accusation actually is.

You're absolutely right, 4Kids' version wasn't all that different than the Japanese one. It seems to me that Sonic X is considered one of the worst dubs ever ONLY because of the voice actor change.

...Well, that and episode 77, but it was mostly because of the voice actor change.

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